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Dr. Kevin P. Reilly

Venture Partner, Education

Dr. Kevin P. Reilly is a Venture Partner in the Education Practice of RIDGE-LANE LP.

Dr. Kevin P. Reilly is President Emeritus and Regent Professor with the 26-campus University of Wisconsin (UW) System, having served as President from 2004-2013.

In collaboration with the UW Board of Regents and the campus Chancellors, he developed the “Growth Agenda for Wisconsin,” a long-term vision and strategic framework for what the university needed to do to help Wisconsin and the nation be more competitive in the global knowledge economy.  Under his leadership, enrollment grew to 182,000--an all-time high--and sponsored research continued to expand beyond $ 1 billion annually.  Both transfer students and the number of degrees awarded rose by 13%, with privately donated need-based student aid increasing by 124%.  At the same time, the UW System was ranked by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems among the five “most productive state systems and public sectors of higher education relative to their resources.”  

A native of New York City, Reilly came to Wisconsin from the State University of New York (SUNY) System, where he was Associate Provost for Academic Programs and then Secretary of the University.  Earlier in his career in New York, he led the New York State Board of Regents office that evaluated and accredited all public, private, and for-profit colleges and universities in the state.

At the American Council on Education (ACE) he has been a Board of Directors member and officer, Presidential Advisor for Leadership, and Chair of the ACE Commission on Adult Learning and Educational Credentials. Reilly has served as the President of the National Association of System Heads, and on the Steering Committee for four Wisconsin statewide economic summits.  At the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), he holds an appointment as a Senior Fellow.

A former member of the Higher Education Working Group on Global Issues for the Council on Foreign Relations, he has advised the University of Nizwa in Oman, Qatar University, and the United Arab Emirates University on the development of their institutions.

He is author and editor of books and articles on higher education leadership, policy, accreditation, and board governance, among other topics in literature and Irish studies.  He has been a regular contributor to AGB’s Trusteeship magazine.  At UW-Madison he has taught the undergraduate course on James Joyce, and a graduate seminar on Major Challenges in American Higher Education. One of his final innovations as President was to establish competency-based degree programs in the UW System, the first of their kind offered by a public university system.  Dr. Reilly earned his B.A. at the University of Notre Dame, and his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota.

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